Laish are a wonderful folk group consisting of Danny Green, Jo Burke, Ben Gregory, Mike Miles and Cathy Cardin. I have not seen the band live but from the music on Myspace they are a nice folk band with some really good songs. I am seeing them on 6th March supporting the delightful Adelaide’s Cape on their EP launch.
So far Laish have shared stages with Mumford and Sons, Sixtoes, Castanets, Jonquil, David Thomas Broughton, The Leisure Society, The Mariner’s Children, Sons of Noel and Adrian, Held by Hands, Revere, Mary Hampton, Revenge of Shinobi, Richard Dawson, Rowan Coupland and worked with these promoters and festivals: Brighton Festival, Union Chapel, Big Chill Festival, Firegathering Festival, Small World Festival, Willkommen, Woodland Recordings, Type PR, Toy Soldier, Lack of Communications, NFR, Littlest Birds, Broken Toy Music, Bleeding Hearts Club, O.I.B. Records, Little Nomadic, Thumbdog Promotions, Victory Inn and Brighton Stripped.
Danny the voice behind Laish was so kind enough to find a moment to spare and answer the 10 questions:
Q 01. What was your first musical instrument and where did you get it?
A recorder. I was four. Dragged into this noble professional by institutional responsibility and familial obligation. No idea where it came from. Probably a hand-me-down. I think I mimed through most assembly music recitals, like some hideous child fraud. I’m better at music these days, but the recorder still eludes me.
Q 02. What was your favourite gig you have headlined or supported at?
The Brighton Festival show we headlined last year at the Pavilion Theatre was a turning point for the band. We had been shifting members for a while then we got booked for this big headline festival show and there was a sense that we needed to MAN UP! To prepare, I booked a little tour of house party gigs in Bristol and Devon in the run up to the show and our friend Mike wanted to tag along. On the way there, I suggested he might as well make himself useful and do some percussion on a few songs as I knew he was a good drummer. Before you know it, he’s doing twelve minute drum solos and demanding his own dressing room.
The gig itself was terrifying. I put on my best suit, had an ale and it all came together. We got a five star review from a local magazine and since then, we’ve really been enjoying playing together.
Q 03. If you were to collaborate with anyone dead or alive who would it be and why?
Let’s go for someone alive and then at least it’s a dream that could come true. John McEntire. He has produced some of the most intricate and inventive sounding music ever recorded. I am browsing through his entire career’s discography and it is something to aspire to (http://www.discogs.com/artist/John+McEntire) His drumming is totally inspirational. I play drums with Sons of Noel and Adrian and while many of the older songs require only simple, almost tribal beats, recently the words “try something Tortoisey” are heard more than ever.
Given the breadth of his experience I suspect he would be an easy going person to work with. I would need this. I mean, I would love to jam with Bill Callahan or Will Oldham but I know I would just feel like a child at the adult’s table.
Q 04. Favourite song to sing live and why?
Recently, my song “In the Morning” is a particular live favourite. That song has been through quite a life cycle. It was originally recorded as a soppy gift to my girlfriend and then re-recorded for a Willkommen Collective compilation and then reworked and remixed again for our album. Since Mike has joined, I love the sonic possibilities of having a drummer. The gentle finger-picked opening is a real test on my fingers and my concentration and it is such a contrast with the loud, ecstatic ending. The words are always relevant. “I’m a serious man” usually gets a laugh from those who know me.
Q 05. Favourite music venue and why?
The Cumberland Arms in Newcastle. The first time I went there was to see the incredible Chicago Underground Duo and it was this dusty ramshackle place seemingly in the middle of nowhere with old fellas singing folks songs in the corner. I fell in love with it and since then it’s gone from strength to strength.
Q 06. Where do you get your inspiration from when writing songs?
My songs are often letters to friends and lovers; written about imagined characters or some self-pitying nonsense written in my darkest hours.
While the music of Laish may be quiet and reflective at times, I feel it is optimistic. There is enough depressing music in the world (of which there is much to love) but it doesn’t really suit me.
Q 07. Describe your music in 3 words?
Warm, joyous, dry.
Q 08. What tips do you offer to any one wanting to become a singer or start a band?
Do it because it drags you out of bed in the morning.
Q 09. Who is your favourite singer or band at the moment?
Kristin McClement is incredible and deserves to be more famous than most famous people.
Q 10. Goals for the year?
Get around the country, release our album, keep writing and feel inspired.
The current dates are:
23/01/2010 – Komedia, Brighton (Full Band)
05/02/2010 – Coachwerks, Brighton (Solo)
06/03/2010 – The Luminaire, Kilburn (Full Band)
18/04/2010 – The Slaughtered, London (Full Band)
19/04/2010 – The Prince Albert, London (Full Band)